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Some Questions

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  • inabind2001
    Dear Venerable Sayadaws, I am relatively new to Buddhism, and I really feel from the books I have read and from Buddhist writing or scripture, that Buddhism
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 2, 2002
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      Dear Venerable Sayadaws,

      I am relatively new to Buddhism, and I really feel from the books I
      have read and from Buddhist writing or scripture, that Buddhism seems
      to connect with me in a way. I talk to my Buddhist friend and go
      about once a week to the monastery and meditate with Theravedan Monks
      from Burma. So I appreciate any response.

      My first question is: As it applies to Buddhism, what is omniscience?
      If I had a time machine and went back to talk to the Buddha and asked
      him what is the gravitational constant, Planck length or Avogadro's
      number, would the Buddha be able to answer?

      My second question is: Is Pari-Nibbanna complete annhilation? If not,
      then what is it.

      My third question is: Similarly, what is Nibbanna?

      My fourth question is: How long can it take for an average person to
      achieve First Insight? How does one achieve this?

      I appreciate any response, either posted or by email.

      with Metta

      Al C.
    • ZaoMilinda Bhikkhu
      Dear Al C.
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 4, 2002
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        Dear Al C.

        <<( Dear Venerable Sayadaws; My first question is: As it applies to Buddhism, what is omniscience?
        If I had a time machine and went back to talk to the Buddha and asked
        him what is the gravitational constant, Planck length or Avogadro's
        number, would the Buddha be able to answer?)>>

        *The answer of your first question is that omniscience means to
        understand and know everything where it is good or bad for human beings
        and for heavenly beings. The Buddha knows the suffering, the cause of
        suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path leads to the cessation
        of suffering which are very different teachings from other religion that
        we also called the Four Noble Truths. These four noble truths are
        discovered by the Buddha himself. The Buddha has taught us everything
        through His experience.
        Once king Milinda asked Venerable Nagasena whether the Buddha was omniscient?
        Venerable Nagasena said Yes, the Blessed One was omniscient but His
        omniscient knowledge was dependent on adverting his mind and he knew
        whatever it pleased him to know.

        I am sure if you met the Buddha at that time, you could ask him anything
        regarding the gravitational constant and other phenomena which you have
        doubt. He could answer all. You may know during his time there were many
        ascetics, religious leaders, monks, kings, ministers, merchants, house
        holders and even gods asking him countless questions. He not only taught
        about human world but also explained about heaven beings and hell beings.

        <<(My second question is: Is Pari-Nibbanna complete annhilation? If not,
        then what is it.)>>

        *The word Nibbana cannot be regarded as nothingness or annihilation.
        It can mean blowing out as of a candle-flame being snuffed out. Once the
        sage Upasiva asked about the condition of one who attained Nibbana( Nirvana)
        Does he not exist who's reached the goal ? (Annihilation)
        Or does he dwell forever free from ill ? ( Eternalism)

        The Lord Buddha replied :
        Of him who's reached the goal no measure's found,
        there is not that by which he could be named,
        when Dhammas all for him have been destroyed,
        destroyed are all the ways of telling too.

        <<(My third question is: Similarly, what is Nibbanna?)>>

        *Nibbana is two words: Ni+bana (or Ni+ Vana); Ni means nothing or negative
        and Vana means attachment. The whole word Nibbana means no attachment.
        Attachment can produce anger, delusion for the root of unwholesomeness. Due
        to attachment we still suffer. We have to reduce attachment as much as possible.
        We have no words to describe Nibbana as Nibbana is not the past,
        future and present or place. As the space is not born, it does not age,
        does not decay. How can we describe 'Peace' without giving an example? In
        the same way Nibbana is peaceful, joyful, happy, cool, excellent, calm,
        serene, blissful, emancipation, passionless and pure. We cannot go to
        Nibbana by car, by train or by plane but we can attain Nibbana by our
        generosity, morality and meditation.(If you want to read more about Nibbana, you can visit http://www.nibbana.com )

        <<( My fourth question is: How long can it take for an average person to
        achieve First Insight? How does one achieve this?)>>

        * It depends on a person's mature knowledge and perfection to achieve
        First Insight and there are different ways to achieve it.
        But your question seems to ask about First state of deep meditative
        concentration ( Pathama Jhana) or stream-entry ( Sotapatti) since we
        don't have First Insight. Whoever wants to achieve it, he or she must
        understand the eight fold path:
        Right Understanding, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Action, Right
        Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Then
        take Mindfulness meditation.

        with Metta

        Ven. Milinda





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Benoit Santerre
        Dear Venerable Sayadaws, My question is: If one practices Dana, Sila, and Bhavana in this life, but does not attain the Path and Fruit of stream-entry before
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 4, 2002
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          Dear Venerable Sayadaws,
          My question is: If one practices Dana, Sila, and
          Bhavana in this life, but does not attain the Path and
          Fruit of stream-entry before dying, but is reborn in a
          deva world, is he/she lost because in the heavens it
          is hard to practice Dhamma? If so, is it better for a
          practitioner to be reborn as a human according to
          Theravada?
          Thank you and highest veneration to the Three Jewels.
          Benoit




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        • ZaoMilinda Bhikkhu
          Dear Benoit, It is alright if one practises Dana, Sila and Bhavana. But he or she should not wish to reborn in Devaloka as it is very difficult to practise
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 5, 2002
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            Dear Benoit,

            It is alright if one practises Dana, Sila and Bhavana. But he or she should
            not wish to reborn in Devaloka as it is very difficult to practise
            Dana, Sila and Bhavana there. The devas enjoy heavenly pleasure
            and forget to do the good things. But even though one does not
            wish to be born in the deva world, he or she will automatically
            reach there due to good effect of Dana, Sila and Bhavana.

            The Buddha persuaded people to stay away from worldly pleasures or sensual enjoyments as in the deva world where there is so much to enjoy. The Buddha knew whom to teach, at the right moment, with the most suitable dhamma discourse. For example, Prince Nanda was about to marry, but the Buddha created a situation when the prince had to bring his alms-bowl to the Monastery. The prince became a monk and later attained arahatship after receiving the Buddha's Teaching.

            To attain the path and fruit of stream-entry is dependent on a person's mature knowledge and perfection in the past and present existences. He or she will
            lose nothing for their Dana, Sila and Bhavana activities in the past or in this life. Doing good or bad thing in one's life is like collecting tiny drops of rain water over a long period of time. Oneday you will enjoy the benefits of good actions.

            The Buddha also taught of five rare opportunity or situation:
            - To be born as a human being is very difficult,
            - To have faith in the triple Gem is very difficult,
            - To become a monk is very difficult,
            - To meet the the Buddha is very difficult,
            - To be able to listen to and understand the teaching of the Buddha is very difficult.

            As we are already born as human beings, we should not miss the opportunity to progress. There is nothing better than this human existence.

            With Metta,

            Ven. Milinda
            ************

            On Mon, 4 Feb 2002 18:41:30 -0800 (PST) Benoit Santerre
            <benoit_santerre@...> writes:
            > Dear Venerable Sayadaws,
            > My question is: If one practices Dana, Sila, and
            > Bhavana in this life, but does not attain the Path and
            > Fruit of stream-entry before dying, but is reborn in a
            > deva world, is he/she lost because in the heavens it
            > is hard to practice Dhamma? If so, is it better for a
            > practitioner to be reborn as a human according to
            > Theravada?
            > Thank you and highest veneration to the Three Jewels.
            > Benoit
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          • Benoit Santerre
            Venerable Sayadaws, I have a question related to the third precept: Is a committed adult couple (intending to marry in the future) committing sexual misconduct
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 10, 2002
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              Venerable Sayadaws,
              I have a question related to the third precept:

              Is a committed adult couple (intending to marry in
              the future) committing sexual misconduct if they have
              intercourse even if both still live with their
              parents? I am thinking of the Buddha saying that
              intercourse with a woman still under the guard of
              parents is misconduct. But was this due to the culture
              which practiced arranged marriages? In the West it
              seems that we take for granted that this precept (for
              lay-persons) simply means to be loyal and committed to
              one partner.
              Thank you and homage to the Three Jewels.
              Benoit



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            • ZaoMilinda Bhikkhu
              Dear Benoit, If both man and woman love each other, promise and agree to marry in the future, this situation is not called misconduct. But it is better to
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 10, 2002
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                Dear Benoit,

                If both man and woman love each other, promise and agree to marry in the future, this situation is not called misconduct. But it is better to live together after getting married.

                With Metta,
                Ven.Milinda
                ***********

                On Sun, 10 Feb 2002 07:48:15 -0800 (PST) Benoit Santerre
                <benoit_santerre@...> writes:
                > Venerable Sayadaws,
                > I have a question related to the third precept:
                >
                > Is a committed adult couple (intending to marry in
                > the future) committing sexual misconduct if they have
                > intercourse even if both still live with their
                > parents? I am thinking of the Buddha saying that
                > intercourse with a woman still under the guard of
                > parents is misconduct. But was this due to the culture
                > which practiced arranged marriages? In the West it
                > seems that we take for granted that this precept (for
                > lay-persons) simply means to be loyal and committed to
                > one partner.
                > Thank you and homage to the Three Jewels.
                > Benoit
                >
                >
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